PETALING JAYA: The Turtles’ 28-day layoff from competitive football may have had an adverse effect on the team.
Terengganu head coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said it will be a huge test for his men to regain their form when they host fancied Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) in their Super League match at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday.
“I am worried the long break would have broken our rhythm. The players look rusty and may have lost their competitive edge,” said a concerned Abdul Rahman on Wednesday.
Terengganu led the 12-team standings on Feb 15 when the M-League took a three-week break.
Last week, Abdul Rahman’s side were supposed to return to action but their match against Selangor in Shah Alam on March 7 was postponed to allow the Red Giants time to prepare for their AFC Cup match in Maldives.
Abdul Rahman is now worried that the additional week’s break would have put his men at a disadvantage.
“We have a big match ahead against one of the strongest sides in the competition - JDT, and here we are coming from a long break. All we had was four friendly matches in Kuala Lumpur and Terengganu during the break.
“The boys know that we need to win this match against JDT if we are to be serious contenders for the league title. It is make-or-break time and I hope the players will rise to the occasion. This is their chance to play to their true capabilities. At the moment I can only motivate them to give their best,” said Abdul Rahman.
Neighbours Kelantan are the current leaders with 12 points from six matches while second-placed JDT, who trail by two points, are ahead of Terengganu on goal difference.